Home > linux, operating systems > Ubuntu 9.04 Review – Desktop Emphasis on the Jaunty Jackalope

Ubuntu 9.04 Review – Desktop Emphasis on the Jaunty Jackalope

Introduction

My previous experience with Ubuntu has been good. 8.10 did very well for me, even though I remained strictly in the openSUSE 11.1 camp.

People were expecting big changes in 8.10, but it never came to that. Even now, in 9.04 (a.k.a. the Jaunty Jackalope), the expectations of a big change were there, though somewhat damped.

As always, I put Ubuntu 9.04 through its blocks, in a manner that has now become a bit of my very own trademark: testing it in ways that the average, Linux illiterate computer user would use.

My test rig was the Acer Ferrari (2.0GHz, 64bit Dual Core, 2GB RAM, ATI X1600 Mobility Radeon).

Live run & Installation

The Live run was significant. In the release candidate, I had a major show-stopper when CD booted into the desktop only for hundreds of un-named generic windows to start loading and bringing my system to a halt. Thankfully, this problem has been solved completely in the release version. I did not delve much while live, but proceeded onto the install.

As with previous editions of Ubuntu, this too, includes the good old 7-step installer. Apart from a slightly upgraded time-map, it remains identical to old versions. I specified my partitions and went on.

The installation was flawless, fast and simple.

Impressions

Ubuntu 9

Ubuntu 9

The default theme is the same old brown ‘Human’ theme. Ubuntu never does seem to work on it’s visuals very much. But there was surprise.

Last time, Ubuntu introduced the DarkRoom theme. Now, in addition, there are two themes called ‘Dust’ and ‘Dust-Sand’.

Dust is the closest Ubuntu has yet come to making a real, professional, working interface. It looks very nice, and the styling is easy on the eyes. All that disappointed me was that it had no wallpapers or icon-sets to complement the theme.

Deeper in

Much hyped pre-release, there is the unified notification system. I really enjoyed the fact that all applications can now channel their notifications into a single uniform message. No more mess! Email notifications, messenger messages, system notifications etc are all there. All in all, this is one of the most welcome changes, and it really helps those users that are used to putting lots of applications in their traybar.

Boot times have gone down. I noticed an interesting trend: if I reboot my PC three of four times in a row, the boot times actually go down, to a minimum limit of 15s on my PC, while reboots after long work sessions takes about 25 seconds. I have no idea why that happens, but nevertheless, this is lot lesser than earlier versions of Linux. The only full distro that boots faster for me is Dreamlinux. Though I hardly ever shut down my PC, many people do.

Apart from that, is the updating of all programs: Kernel 2.6.28, X.org 7.4, OpenOffice 3.0.1, Firefox 3.0.9, Gimp 2.6.6 etc.

Stability

I had grudges with the stability of the release candidate, both on VMware and actual hardware, so I really pushed this one.

To my surprise, the stability issues have disappeared if by magic. This leaves me to wonder if my earlier woes were due to one or two problems from which the rest cascaded. But that’s another point. Here, the stability was no issue at all. I roved around on the desktop, barked up the menus, kicked the buttons, went F1, and overloaded the cart, but the Jackalope held on. Impressive indeed.

Everything else

Everything else was the same as in previous version, at least, there’s nothing really noticeable. And everything… works.

Conclusions

First, my only complaint with this release is that it gave me very little to write about. Very few earthbreaking features, but rock solid stability.

But. The But. This is the Distro. The Distro that has finally won me over from the SUSE camp. The swaying points were the theme, stability and speed.

To put it in better words, this distro takes over from openSUSE as my primary distro. At least, until SUSE 11.2.

Rating: 9.5/10

P.S. Here’s a very useful page about what do after installing the standard Ubuntu 9.04: Eva’s useful guide to Ubuntu 9.04

Note: Ubuntu 8.10 onwards (9.04 too) has an IPV6 bug. This disallows users with static IPs from connecting to the internet, and some users have trouble disabling this behavior. Thanks to kabel for the info!

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  1. 26 April 2009 at 8:56 AM

    I have written a hopefully useful guide about what to do after installing Jaunty – maybe you’ll find it interesting?
    Nice post, thank you!

  2. 26 April 2009 at 2:58 PM

    Good Review.
    Just a mistake in Firefox version, it’s actually 3.0.9.

  3. TiPaul
    27 April 2009 at 6:46 AM

    Forgot another new theme (My favorite) included with 9.04:
    New Wave

  4. 28 April 2009 at 8:13 AM

    @ makosol: Thanks! Correction made.

    @ TiPaul: New Wave? I must have missed it. Yes, it IS rather nice, and very much the same kind as Dust. Thanks for pointing that out too!

  5. kabel
    30 April 2009 at 6:48 PM

    It seems that nobody cares about “ipv6 bug” in Ubuntu 9.04 that is show stopper for many users that can use only ipv4. There is no way that you can disable it because is incorporated into the kernel.

    “But. The But. This is the Distro.” Yeah, right. If you don’t have internet, what in the h??? is good for, mowing grass?

    It started with 8.10 and the Network Manager that couldn’t handle static ip. Googled, reported bugs and nothing worked as usual.

    Now, with 9.04 they decided to incorporate the ipv6 functionality into the kernel, so there is no way how you can disable it. Googled, reported bugs and nothing seems to work, as usual.

    “But. The But. This is the Distro.” Yeah, right, Ubuntu – the perfect desktop, one step forward but three backwards.

  6. 2 May 2009 at 11:47 AM

    @ kabel: Honestly, I don’t see what you mean. I have had absolutely no problem with internet connectivity. *I* have a static IP, and it works perfectly for me(as in perfectly, both on VMware and real hardware)!

  7. kabel
    4 May 2009 at 5:58 PM

    Of course you couldn’t see what I meant to say because I could not explain the problem with one sentence. Since you have asked me, I shall explain to you. The “static IP” problem with 8.10 is connected with the Network Manager. Just google “Ubuntu 8.10 static ip problem” you will see what I meant to say. I have tried every possible solution on the net, and the only cure was to ditch the Network Manager and do the settings in “/etc/network/interfaces”. Now you gonna ask why I didn’t try to modify “/etc/network/interfaces” with Network Manager installed, and the answer is that after restart the Network Manager (or kernel maybe i should have say) erases the changes that I’ve made in“/etc/network/interfaces” and defaults back on DHCP. This is partially acceptable fix on very important tool on one operating system. That’s why I made that statement that Ubuntu makes one step forward, three steps backwards.

    As far as 9.04 just google “Ubuntu 9.04 disable ipv6″ and you will see what I meant to say.

    Then I went back to 8.04.2 but the problem with it is the very famous bug “flash player always on top”. If you go to Bestbuy web site or NBA web site and if you position your mouse on the NBA’s menu bar so you can pool the menu’s drop down list so you can navigate trough the web site you will see that flash player is on top of the menu’s drop down list. This makes difficult to navigate on flash extensive web pages. Yes, I do have the latest firefox and flash plug-in.

    Sorry that I dumped on you guys. Yes, I know that if I have bad experience with Ubuntu then I should not pollute other people minds.

  8. 4 May 2009 at 9:13 PM

    @ kabel: I had no idea about the IPV6 problem. I have not had the misfortune of suffering from it. But, yes, that really is a problem. I just edited the current review to notify readers of it.

    But the Flash problem is not unique to Ubuntu, or even Linux. It happens on Windows too – in fact, on many versions of Firefox. Many people have noticed it:
    http://www.milonic.com/mfa/2006-October/flash-on-top-of-nav-in-firefox.html
    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/58317/css-javascript-navigation-menu-on-top-of-flash-in-firefox
    http://www.flashadvisor.com/forum/flash-front-menus-t2605.html?s=18a6d272908cb1a149f09d313549af14&

  9. AA
    8 May 2009 at 11:19 PM

    Hey,

    ubuntu 9.04 is great.

    I think you should have mentioned in your review the ease with which flash works in firefox. In previous releases of ubuntu, getting flash to work properly was just impossible. now, all you do is click to install it and it works like a champ. no need to edit files or change your sound controls etc…

    thanks for the review

  10. 8 May 2009 at 11:41 PM

    @ AA: It’s beginning to sound odd by now. People post these comments saying that this and that didn’t work earlier, and this and that still doesn’t work now, but this and that do.
    For me, almost everything has been running flawlessly since 8.04… 🙂
    Thanks!

  11. sahil
    12 May 2009 at 6:31 PM

    hai:
    hope u all are fine, i am a new user ubantu 8.10 ,i want to know how to install urdu in ubantu 8.10 .so help me in this regard
    i, am very thankful to u

    best regard

    sahil

  12. 12 May 2009 at 10:47 PM

    @ sahil: I recommend the following site:
    http://ubuntu.sabza.org/2007/05/16/enabling-urdu-support-in-ubuntu/
    Though I am from Pakistan myself, life has made my English even better than my Urdu, thus I have never needed to install Urdu support. But the page I just mentioned lists a few very simple commands you need to get Urdu support in Ubuntu.

  13. 12 May 2009 at 10:48 PM

    @ sahil: I also recommend a quick look at https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/46482

  14. 15 June 2009 at 1:11 AM

    Honestly what do you expect from Linux? It doesn’t work, it never did and it never will. Linux is so inferior it’s a shame people still don’t get it. Linux isn’t even an operating system, it’s some kind of religion with all its side effects like aberration, mental incapacity, disorder and so on.

    If you prefer stability, security and superiority then Microsoft Windows is your choice!

    Linux is a crock of shit. 😦

  15. 16 June 2009 at 9:33 PM

    I have to assume the above poster does not know that microsoft recently invested in a linux server farm in order to better understand the operating system that is killing their industrial and commercial markets. Xbox360 os was created on a mac. ISP’s run linux for servers, If you have used a self checkout system then congratulations you have just used linux. Wake up the world is much bigger than your small view point. Pull the wool off your eyes while your at it. If it wasnt for windows security issues possibly the better part of this nations computer scientists would have had more time over the last decade to put to other things. Like say keeping this nations foothold as a global technology leader? A decade of “patch tuesdays” and “bot-nets” thanks to m-softs poor coding practice leaves me with the opinion that gates should be dipping in to his pockets to help the nation out. Crooked is all that i will say about his business and coding practice.

    On to relevant point number one. While I appreciate linux more than I can tell you ubuntu has been a thorn in my side. Not only did they release this os with horrible bugs but they are not too helpful in getting them resolved. My ati hardware gets setup on 8 bit color mode. My intel e5200 2.5 core 2 duo gets seen as a 1.2 ghz cpu. Settings dont save and applications hang. Ubuntu is good at taking prereleased software and making an operating system. When 50 percent of the bugs reported are solved they release the product. Unfortunatelly we all cant afford acer ferarri’s. My dfi lanparty board and my MSI DKA790GX do not work well with Jaunty. My 2 channel audio just up and disappeared the other day. I had audio for two weeks up to this point. NOw its surround sound or nothing. Ubuntu reports it as an alsa bug and not their own. Why did they include that version of alsa then is my question? While Ubuntu “works” for a lot of people I encourage folks to do their homework on the models of computers that they are intending to install on. Sabayon has proved to be five times more stable and usable than ubuntu in the four computers I have tried. Thats my experience though.

  16. 17 June 2009 at 4:30 PM

    @ quotaholic: About the ATI hardware – have you tried restricted drivers? Try the fglrx drivers and xgl-server.

    I’m sorry Ubuntu didn’t turn out well for you… Ubuntu generally does well with hardware. It has it’s bad days, I suppose.

  17. Tsuchang
    28 June 2009 at 7:59 PM

    I am reading lots of posts about the new Ubuntu 9.04. I am now running 8.10 and having some problems. My Internet sound doesn’t work anymore tho the other sound, like videos and wav files work.

    I am a novice, (read noob), with linex so I need an easy to upgrade kind of product. If it is like windoz in that you can install it and it will set itself up for you I would be happy. I’m not a code warrior at all and have messed up my computer many times. My friends help me fix it.

    Is this upgrade something that will be usable for a noob like me?

  18. Ilanit
    10 July 2009 at 8:35 PM

    windows forever, you really talk alot of shit, you even don`t no what you talk about, with your shit windows, your shit windows is the worsest crap that never works, linux works and you never get any virus and save lots of moeny cause you never need a technician who has to clean up your shit with these shit windows viruses, so just shut up.

  19. 26 July 2009 at 1:05 PM

    Hi!

    I have bad experience with ubuntu 9.04, I got the error “directory read-only.” I also tried using ext4 where I first got that problem. I thought maybe it was the ext4 that cause it. So I reformated it again and use ext3. I still got that Directory Read only problem. I got it from time to time. until the time fschk cant fix it anymore and I went back to ubuntu 8.10.

    By the way last time I install 9.04 was last May 2009. I installed it on Acer 4920g.

    If anyone had encountered this problem and found solutions. Please let me know and where can I find that solution.

    thanks

  20. 24 September 2009 at 4:55 PM

    Hello,

    I have to admit I don’t share your enthusiasm with ubuntu. Ok I agree it has great support, it’s very very easy to use, provides a handful of packages just ready to be installed etc. But that doesn’t make me wanna install it nor use it. It’s too simple, too newbish. If I wanna learn linux(or unix), I will go with something that will force me to learn it. Some example include slackware, debian, arch or even gentoo(there are many more though).
    The majority of ubuntu users don’t really wanna learn linux, nor they care much about it. They just want a simple to use OS with a cool and shiny desktop to perform simple tasks -> windows replacement. If you are serious about learning linux, I say pass on ubuntu.

    My two pennies worth.

  21. 27 September 2009 at 10:13 AM

    @ Daniel: You are right that Ubuntu is not for those who wish to learn the real Linux. But then, in this time and world, where people want minimum input and maximum output, how many do?

  22. James
    27 October 2009 at 3:25 PM

    Daniel;

    I have been around the computational machine world since they where still large enough to fill an entire building, punch cards were the “new” method of getting data input to the machine (heaven help you if you screwed up the order of the cards) and understand that the original concept of Linux is based upon an older version of Unix (which has been around far longer then any other commercially accepted operating system has survived) and I have witnessed the change in machine architecture to the point were we can literally utilize “plug and play” hardware concepts (I still refer to as hardware modularization technology) so that we can mix and match any type of hardware we choose..

    Software was always (at least in the genera’ I grew up in) considered it a “necessary evil” as it required a healthy dose of Mathematical operations to be mentally figured out “before” input to the feeder could be accomplished, at one time it took an entire “team” of tenured professionals to accomplish a single goal which now would be considered “trivial” and a comical joke by comparison..

    Ubuntu is one of a series of natural progressions of a Unix kernel to the next step for end user application as was the very machine I am typing this message locally to be posted to this website which is in itself fast becoming an integrated aspect of all avenues of our society and has reached the next venue in the progression, that is when it starts becoming a form of “artistic expression” as the technology of the hardware has reached the paradigm where the thought process of how it works becomes “what can I do to modify my case,power supply,fans,PC box, color, shape, automation, etc..
    software is fast approaching a similar paradigm associated with this…the holy grail known as 100% stability..

    Ubuntu is also becoming an end user intended form of software technology involving the communication between the back-end operations through the middle-ware to the front-end that has a very large history to draw upon and uses many people from all types of backgrounds by allowing them to “experiment” with different virtual concepts (software programming applications) by being able to rely upon the history of the Unix kernel as a “constant” for the end users benefit so that the general population does not “have” to become involved with the eccentricities of the hardware/software associations that I am sure you are more familiar with then an average computer user.. look at it in another light, because the average user wants a non-complex solution to their software woes, there will always be a job security in being able to deal with the complexities of hardware/software, Ubuntu is one of them and for the best part (as of this writing) it is showing a great deal of headway in the relationship between the end user,the Unix kernel, and the hardware itself which was not even available a short time ago..

    James

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